The big story in Hollywood this week is the doubt over star power. With the third installment of Mission: Impossibleperforming unsatisfactorily in its opening weekend, the drawing capability of Tom Cruise is being put into question. Even before the film opened, Entertainment Weekly ran a story about the salaries of actors and actresses that wondered about stars' current worth with concern to audience interest in seeing a movie. Internationally, stars may still be a safe bet, though. In addition to Mission: Impossible III doing far better in foreign markets this week, plenty of recent movies featuring big names, including Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt and Jodie Foster, were better received overseas than here in the U.S.
Therefore it makes sense to me that French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch has made a sequel to L'Auberge Espagnole, his hit comedy from 2002 that featured Romain Duris as a student living in Barcelona with a multi-national group of roommates. Duris, seen last year in The Beat That My Heart Skipped, is now a big star in France, and he's not the only cast member whose fame has risen since the original's release, either. Cécile De France acquired a higher profile thanks to Disney's Around the World in 80 Days and the French horror film High Tension. British actress Kelly Reilly has been in the spotlight lately for her roles in Mrs. Henderson Presents and Pride and Prejudice. Then, of course, there is Audrey Tautou, who helped to draw American moviegoers to L'Auberge espagnole following her success here with Amelie, and who is even more popular today, co-starring this summer in one of the year's biggest blockbusters, The Da Vinci Code.